Fassbinder Examines Cylon Philosophy
Recensito negli Stati Uniti il 10 dicembre 2012
WORLD ON A WIRE has all the trademarks of prime Fassbinder cinema. You have your Michael Ballhause cinematography, all reflections, mirrors, transparencies, and circular tracking. He's as much a part of Fassbinder's style, as the Serk stylistic references, the reappearing stock company, and the ironic wierdness that spreads over his films. Even tho its technically a Scifi film, since it deals with scientific inventions of the future, at no point would the imagery tell you this. Instead, you have this odd mash of 1940s costumes, with ultramodern settings. WORLD ON A WIRE examines a future where computers can approximate human behavior. One particular company (IKZ)has a mega-computer with about 11,000 of these simulated humans programmed into it. The hero of the film, STILLER, understands this world, and the company that runs it. Yet some upper management, like VOLLMER, who discovered an unbelievable secret about IKZ, mysteriously disappears. He's at a party talking to STILLER one moment, and gone the next. Not only that, nobody realizes he just disappeared except Fred Stiller. VOLLMER not only disappeared, but nearly all memory of him has disappeared as well. Meanwhile, the company IKZ tells Stiller to forget about the whole thing, and accept Vollmer's old job. Yet Stiller cant let it go, as he works to prove that Vollmer DID exist, he slowly endangers himself. Stiller suspects that IKZ had him bumped off, because Vollmer had made a startling discovery about IKZ right before he died.
Even before the audience knows whats going on, Fassbinder is providing you with all the information you need to understand the situation. The minor characters all exibit blank stares, and appear oddly perfected in their clothing, make up and demenour in a way that's not fully human. Many dont blink. When not engaged with conversing with Stiller, they just stand there. This is true creativity, when the only special effect needed to show a person isnt real, is the acting. Also, the soundtrack drones in the backround constantly, usually trite 1930-1940s type movie composistions. Emotionally, the music is out of context with the lead character's situation, tho it helps immensely in providing a sense of falseness to the film. When the lead character discovers, or asks questions that fall outside the strange laws governing this odd world, the trite classical soundtrack becomes loud feedback, frightening and jarring for the audience. Eventually, as Stiller moves closer and closer to the truth, these harse soundtrack bursts of sound become more frequent. The first half of the film finishes on this bizaare note, like waking up screaming from a nightmare, as the soundtrack feedsback. Then there's a sharp cutaway to the end titles, while Fleetwood Mac's ALBATROSE song plays. Part two begins with Stiller's discovery that he lives in a computer program. He, and his entire world, isnt real. (The paralells to THE MATRIX are obvious.) What he discovered, was that even tho there are computer simulations "below" the level of reality of his computer world, there are also worlds "above" his world, until you finally come to our REAL world. The second part centers around Stiller's detective work, trying to discover how to break thru to reality. And one person in his circle of friends is real, and will help him attempt to escape the computer program.
If we treat the scifi elements as abstraction, then the film fits comfortably into the avant guard style so often found in Fassbinder's work. Much of Fassbinder's ironic tone derives from lifting Serk's Hollywood mainstream film noir/melodrama, and placing it over strange, modern situations. (Chinese Roulette worked that way, as did Bitter Tears.) I'm often surprised at how much Fassbiner reminds me of David Lynch, who also loves mystery, avant guard, scifi elements, and mixing the normal with the bizarre for ironic tonality. Both directors love to write their films, and both employ idiomatic cinematography to jar the viewer from complacenty. The Criterion edition is first rate, with an entire DVD and booklet devoted to deconstructing the work, and placing it in the larger context of Fassbinder's other films. Altho WORLD ON A WIRE is a bit slow paced, and even obvious, it doesnt detract. After you accept the seriousness of STILLER's quest to discover the dark secret of IKZ industries, then the movie will have hooked you in, as you wait for the plot to unfold. The lack of special effects to drive home the visual element of a future setting matter as little here, as they do in Tarkovsky's best Scifi work like STALKER or SOLARIS. The dialogue, music, and settings provide scifi cinema of the MIND, not scifi of CGI and special effects. In Conclusion: Fassbinder fans will LOVE the film, as will fans of Tarkovsky's scifi work.
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